Written by Kathy Mueller, Moraine Park Adult Education Instructor
At this time of very low unemployment and a major shortage of workers, many adults who didn’t complete high school wonder why they would go back to earn a high school credential. They can often get a job pretty easily anywhere they want to work. That might be true for getting their foot in the door of a company. However, many are learning that if they want to earn more and move up in their companies, they still have to get a high school credential. One of my students did just that.
Time for a Change
Lester was my former student at the Beaver Dam Student Success Center at Moraine Park Technical College. He worked for about 30 years at his company, but without a high school diploma, he was never able to move to a higher-level position or substantially increase his pay. Lester was not only ready to earn his high school diploma to make an upward move at his company, but he also wanted to show his son that a high school diploma was important enough to be worth the hard work he would have to put in to earn it.
Heading Back to School
Lester was like so many other returning adults. He wasn’t very comfortable when he first started, and he was pretty unsure of his skills. One thing he had in his favor was his willingness to work as much as it took to understand the materials. Today we call that grit, and he is full of grit! Lester was able to get through Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies pretty quickly with relative ease. But math? That was a different story. Lester studied math for months. Months turned into years. Every spring, summer, and fall semester for three entire years! In May of 2018, he finished. I was so happy for him. We were all very excited when he and his son got their high school diplomas at the same time.
An Awesome New Opportunity
Lester has kept in touch with me since he graduated. He contacts me on every holiday and sometimes in between to update me about himself and his family. In the Spring of 2021, he told me a position opened up at his workplace. He was nervous but excited about the possibility of making a change at work. Lester knew his High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) made him eligible for this new opportunity. I was very excited when he notified me of his promotion to Warehouse Dock Lead Supervisor position. What great recognition of all the loyalty and hard work Lester gave his company for so many years!
The Diploma Changed His Life!
Last week Lester texted me between holidays. He wanted me to know that since he earned his diploma three and a half years ago, great things happened. He earned a promotion to Warehouse Dock Lead Supervisor. Because he just received a raise, he is now making over $5 an hour more than he had been making without his HSED. We joked about him using all the extra money he was making now to help pay for his son’s college tuition. Lester thanked me for my help in pushing him to keep going. I can’t help but think I should be thanking him for getting to work with an awesome student like him. All I can say is that Lester exemplifies all the reasons a person would want to earn a high school credential. Look at the success all the hard work and grit has brought him!
Moraine Park’s Adult Education opportunities serve adults ages 18-65+ who are seeking to improve their academic skills to obtain or improve their employment, earn a high school credential (GED/HSED), and prepare for college. Students may also work to improve their English language skills and get assistance with their college courses. Learn more about Moraine Park’s Adult Education programs at www.morainepark.edu/academics/ged-and-adult-education/.